“Do not worry about the things you cannot control, worry about those that you can…”
Says the 28 year old Rhodes University graduate who was born in Harare and educated in boarding school. “I attended Martindale Primary school in Selous, then St David’s Girls High School Bonda for my Ordinary Level and Midlands Christian College for Advanced Level education. Thereafter I attained a B.Com degree and B Com Hons in Economics at university,”she goes on, mentioning that she comes from a family of many and is friend to many as well.
Her amazing designs which have intricate detail clearly made straight from her heart, are nothing short of breathtaking. With her passion being in creating something beautiful out of something that looks ordinary, Nolwandle Sachikonye, affectionately known as Sachie says she enjoys the whole process of drawing inspiration from her surroundings.
“I enjoy the patternmaking, because it is the technical part which is the foundation of each design and how well it will look when made, I enjoy the end product and how it speaks to me when I see it hanging on the dress form because it tells me whether I have managed to translate my inspiration and creativity into something tangible other than it being a figment of my imagination. But most of all I enjoy how people love what I make for them. Nothing beats having a customer appreciate and love my work and how it makes them feel beautiful and confident.
So in essence I enjoy everything about what I do!” she adds with a chuckle.
“More and more I discover I am more of a vintage girl so I find myself being inspired by all things old and I find I add a detail here a detail there to modernize the vintage look. And then I have my very own muse…”
But where did all this passion and creativity come from? Sachie explains that way back during her high school years, she had Fashion and Fabrics as one of her subjects and in one particular lesson her teacher Mrs Mukaratirwa and herself spoke about fashion design and how it could be a career for her. “I thoroughly enjoyed Fashion and fabrics and was really good at it too. We talked about Italy and how it was the country to go to and I guess I was sold on the idea from then on.”
One would wonder then, why economics and accounting when she really wanted to be a designer? Sachie, the brains behind the brand Avelyn, speaks of how she ended up living deferred life out of fear. “The story is rather long and uninteresting but all I can say is, I was afraid to venture into something that I wanted because I knew my father would not hear of it! He like most Zimbabwean parents is a believer in the old professions like being a lawyer, an accountant, a doctor etc. I guess it gives them comfort that at least somewhere somehow their child will be employed and they can have a comfortable life.”
Not surprisingly she speaks of her biggest challenge being getting over her fear and stepping out of her comfort zone. A bold step she took indeed as she literally jumped into the deep end with just her passion and acquired knowledge merely from her high school fashion and fabrics lessons! “So there is still a lot that I don’t know about the fashion industry but each day I learn something new and embrace new ideas. They always say hard work reaps benefits!” The determination to beat odds and come out tops is evident as the talented designer grabs each day as it comes.
Upholding personal happiness above everything else, Sachie says she believes being content with who you are is key to finding happiness.
“There was a time that I stepped on eggshells around people because I did not want to upset them or have them talk about me, but I quickly realized that this life that I am living is about me and what makes me happy. So what people think about me is none of my business.”
Sachie, who says her music, fruit and laughter keeps her young, speaks lovingly of her family, and the constant support they give her. “Though we are not perfect and we get on each other’s nerves, we stick together. I know for certain that they have my back regardless of the decisions I make.” Starting her own company, Avelyn, she says, has been the biggest achievement for her thus far. “I have grown mentally, emotionally, psychologically and I love it!”
Sachie says she is a very time conscious person thus gets quite annoyed when people fail to keep appointments or communicate, at least. A member of the Rotaract Club of Borrowdale Brooke, Sachie hopes that this year their club will be more visible in their efforts to help better their community.
Inspired by differing role models with each aspect of her life, Sachie however, has three constants who push her to keep going; her late grandmothers and her father. My maternal grandmother was the brains behind my love for all things sewn, so it only made sense for me to name my brand in her honor. She was tough as nails, a go getter and always said things as they were. ! When I grow up I want to be like her!!” The zeal, the determination, the never-say-die spirit and above all, the love for all things vintage is not too shocking then, as Sachie’s grandma, rest her soul, is the brains behind all this creativity!
Speaking of her father, she says, “He is my pillar of strength. I have never known a man mentally and emotionally strong as my father. He has been the greatest source of strength and support for me and my siblings and I always hope that when I have kids of my own I will be able to spur them on to greater heights like these three people did and still do for me.”
Some little known interesting facts about the artist who is into opera singing, include that she is actually very shy. “I tend to be reserved when I meet people for the first time. My sister always says “ungati uri chimumumu” (it’s as if you can’t speak!) .. but when I meet the same person for a second and third time…its on! I am into long distance running.. I have run more than enough half marathons and I am working towards my first marathon.”
As a parting shot, Sachie’s advice is taken from her own experience. “Shy away from living a deferred life. Follow your dreams and live a life that makes you happy.
Someone told me that the hardest part is starting and they were too right, but once you get started something always spurs you on to keep moving forward even when you feel like you have reached your wits end. My motto is “Do not worry about the things you cannot control, worry about those that you can control but only for at most 20 minutes and spend the rest of the day controlling things!”